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Could a Scratch Golfer break 85 at Augusta?


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6 hours ago, isaacbm said:

So lets just say the rating is an exaggerated 82.  You're supposed to shoot your cap about 1 in 3 times.  So that means if you had 30 random scratches play,

approximately 8-10 of them would shoot 82.  If you have a problem with that, please write the USGA and tell them the handicap system is flawed.  I said this about

35 pages ago: there's no barbed wire or land mines preventing you from walking on the greens.  It's still a golf course people.  I promise you I've played harder.  Also,

I personally know 3 different guys that are +1-1 handicaps that have played it the week after the Masters.  All criteria met and all under 85.  Granted this year the greens

looked a little firmer than in years past...

 

 

 


We're they allowed to play the Masters tees or did they play from the member tees?  Remember the original criteria verbatim.  That's been my contention from the very beginning.  

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This thread was funny. I can’t believe that people don’t understand how ridiculous the original premise was. But let’s just say for arguments sake that  the day after the masters we held a one day tou

WARNING: LONG, DETAILED RANT!!   First off, I am an actual "scratch" golfer. Last year, I peaked as low as +2.0, but my average index for the year was +0.4. I play legit, amateur tournament

Excellent point Jeff.  No lions indeed.       what we are reading here is simply the split between traveling scratch players and those who aren’t.  I’ll get flames for saying that.  But.  

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Remember the women’s amateur over the last couple playing’s? 
Yes the greens were a touch slower but did it seem to you like these young ladies we’re having so much trouble around the green complex’s that they couldn’t even play golf? I know they weren’t playing the same tee boxes but much of the arguments in this thread are that the greens are so difficult that they would be completely unplayable for people who hadn’t played them many times.

. “Scratch golfers would be three putting and four putting all the time!”

    That’s not what I saw when I watched a whole field of amateur ladies play the course....It looked like they struggled for sure, but very few of them shot an embarrassing score.  Oh, and one of the ladies shot 10 under!  
    These are not LPGA professionals. These are college ladies. 
     And of course I understand that they played the member tees and that it would’ve been more difficult to move further back.  But the handicap system says moving back 1000 yards increases the course rating by about four shots or so not 15.  
     Again, I don’t think it would necessarily be easy for a zero handicap to break 85 on the first go. But I certainly think it’s ridiculous to state that it’s impossible.
    
 

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10 hours ago, bscinstnct said:

Well,

 

Freddie shot 79, 79

 

Vijay shot 79, 80

 

Course both are HoF PGA pros, still play on the CT, have played Augusta hundreds of times.

 

Oh yeah, and they both won there.

 

But I’m sure a scratch could head over and hang close to them at Augusta just fine ; )

But there’s a huge difference between 79, 79 and 84,84... 

 

Like about the difference between Freddy being a +5 versus a scratch being a zero? 😉

 

At the end of the day it’s statistical probability question. Not an anecdotal one.

 

Whats the statistical probability that a zero handicap can shoot six or seven over his handicap on a golf course he’s never seen? 

 


 

 

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A legit scratch player could handle the greens.  I think the length combined with the green complexes would be the tough part.  Having to hit long irons or hybrids into a lot of those holes reduces the opportunity to hit it close or on the proper side of the green.  It also increases the opportunity to miss greens.  Those mistakes can easily lead to higher scores.  

 

The greens at our club have a lot of slope and consistently run 12+ in the summer and fall with some downhill puts in the 14 range.  While you may have an occasional train wreck, you can make a lot of putts if you keep it on the correct side of the hole.  But, our course is quite a bit shorter than ANGC so we have short irons and wedges in our hands instead of mid to long irons.  

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Tournament conditions make these courses totally different. The greens, the rough and pin positions and the stress. We can look at the US am winners to determine.

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https://www.golfchannel.com/skysports/tours/other/2021/augusta-national-womens-amateur
 

For reference, 184 rounds were played and only two rounds were over 85. Both by the same player.

 

So again, I’m not saying the course setup was comparable. But it was the same golf course. Most of these women would be between a plus 2 and a 2  handicap from the men’s tees.  They didn’t struggle so much with the green complexes that they couldn’t break 85.  
 

Here’s the scores from the previous playing:

 

https://www.golfchannel.com/tours/women-s-amateur/2019/augusta-national-womens-amateur

 

In 2019 the greens were a little softer. Of the 176 rounds played, 170 of them were  80 or lower!! 
 

So again, yes different set up but same golf course.  
The ladies demonstrated clearly that Augusta national is not a hard golf course under normal conditions. 

So then the question becomes one of set up.  How much harder are the conditions during the Masters  proper? 
 

In my opinion, the ladies clearly demonstrated that the green complexes themselves are manageable for scratch golfers .

 

Thoughts?

 

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On 8/13/2017 at 11:01 AM, golfer929 said:

Friend and I were having a discussion. He says he could do it and would not only break 85, but 80 as well! Stipulations are no caddie, no cart, no walking the course beforehand, and 1 hour warmup before the round. Sunday tournament conditions, from the back tees. He said he wouldn't make a double bogey, and would birdie #13. What do you all think?


 

your question, I think anyway, is very dependent on where that player originates from.  If they play in a region with lots of elevation changes and uneven lies, then yes, I don’t think it would be a problem.  If they originate from an area like Florida, with just flat ground everywhere, I’m not as sure.  
 

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If a scratch player were to play Augusta for the 1st time, no caddy, it would be a complete disaster type round for 75 percent of the scratch player trying to accomplish this feat. Lets just put it this way,  greens in regulation hit ?  Maybe 2-5 at best. There would be a ton of double bogies made and a ton of 3 putts.  I'd say the average Scratch player shoots 74-75 on their home course. Augusta National is about 10 shots harder than most people home course because of the un even lies, green contours.  My numbers are also conservative.  A similar debate was made about Pebble Beach and Augusta imo is definitely a few shots tougher than Pebble.  So the average Scratch player imo playing Augusta for the 1st time would shoot about 88-95 imo.  100 Scratch players attempt this, maybe 5-10 of these players out of 100 shoot in the low 80s, 2-3 might pull off a miracle round and manage an 80.   The scratch will make a few snow men or higher scores.  If your not able to drop a 4 iron within 10 feet of your target and hit that 4 iron very high, the course will be brutally difficult and just eat away at any confidence you had coming in. Remember this course is designed solely for the play of the Masters and the very best player in the world and those guys are plus 5 cappers.  

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I think alot of people don't realize the level of skill between a "scratch player" and a tour player.  An average Corn Ferry player would come to "scratch players course" while scratch is in the 19th bragging about their 73 while Corn Ferry boy is out shooting 63 site un scene.  This Corn Ferry guy not even being close to the best in the game would also to to Augusta and not being a top player would probably shoot 77 while hitting it like a rock star.  Scratch player would shoot 90.  

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2 hours ago, isaacbm said:

Remember the women’s amateur over the last couple playing’s? 
Yes the greens were a touch slower but did it seem to you like these young ladies we’re having so much trouble around the green complex’s that they couldn’t even play golf? I know they weren’t playing the same tee boxes but much of the arguments in this thread are that the greens are so difficult that they would be completely unplayable for people who hadn’t played them many times.

. “Scratch golfers would be three putting and four putting all the time!”

    That’s not what I saw when I watched a whole field of amateur ladies play the course....It looked like they struggled for sure, but very few of them shot an embarrassing score.  Oh, and one of the ladies shot 10 under!  
    These are not LPGA professionals. These are college ladies. 
     And of course I understand that they played the member tees and that it would’ve been more difficult to move further back.  But the handicap system says moving back 1000 yards increases the course rating by about four shots or so not 15.  
     Again, I don’t think it would necessarily be easy for a zero handicap to break 85 on the first go. But I certainly think it’s ridiculous to state that it’s impossible.
    
 


The woman's amateur tournament is irrelevant to the criteria set forth in the first post.  How many of those women would score differently playing from the Masters tournament tees under Sunday tournament conditions?  Every single one of them.  The ladies didn't even play Masters practice round conditions. Maybe close but not exact. 

Edited by RobotDoctor

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1 hour ago, freddiec said:

If a scratch player were to play Augusta for the 1st time, no caddy, it would be a complete disaster type round for 75 percent of the scratch player trying to accomplish this feat. Lets just put it this way,  greens in regulation hit ?  Maybe 2-5 at best. There would be a ton of double bogies made and a ton of 3 putts.  I'd say the average Scratch player shoots 74-75 on their home course. Augusta National is about 10 shots harder than most people home course because of the un even lies, green contours.  My numbers are also conservative.  A similar debate was made about Pebble Beach and Augusta imo is definitely a few shots tougher than Pebble.  So the average Scratch player imo playing Augusta for the 1st time would shoot about 88-95 imo.  100 Scratch players attempt this, maybe 5-10 of these players out of 100 shoot in the low 80s, 2-3 might pull off a miracle round and manage an 80.   The scratch will make a few snow men or higher scores.  If your not able to drop a 4 iron within 10 feet of your target and hit that 4 iron very high, the course will be brutally difficult and just eat away at any confidence you had coming in. Remember this course is designed solely for the play of the Masters and the very best player in the world and those guys are plus 5 cappers.  

 

If only there was some sort of system that has been in place for decades that could be used to rate the difficulty of a golf course and determine the expected score of a scratch golfer...

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1 hour ago, RobotDoctor said:


The woman's amateur tournament is irrelevant to the criteria set forth in the first post.  How many of those women would score differently playing from the Masters tournament tees under Sunday tournament conditions?  Every single one of them.  The ladies didn't even play Masters practice round conditions. Maybe close but not exact. 

I think @isaacbm is onto something relevant.  Sure, tournament conditions aren't exactly the same, but in a relative sense hypothetically putting them on the back tees isn't a fair comparison IMO distance wise to what may, and I say may, be expected on average from a male scratch golfer (yes, plenty of expert and relatively short hitters out there), and by and large those were + cap women players.  The women did seem to have almost all of the regular Masters Sunday pins, I do doubt the green speeds were as fast, but they weren't slow by any means. How that translates? No idea.

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1 hour ago, freddiec said:

If a scratch player were to play Augusta for the 1st time, no caddy, it would be a complete disaster type round for 75 percent of the scratch player trying to accomplish this feat. Lets just put it this way,  greens in regulation hit ?  Maybe 2-5 at best. There would be a ton of double bogies made and a ton of 3 putts.  I'd say the average Scratch player shoots 74-75 on their home course. Augusta National is about 10 shots harder than most people home course because of the un even lies, green contours.  My numbers are also conservative.  A similar debate was made about Pebble Beach and Augusta imo is definitely a few shots tougher than Pebble.  So the average Scratch player imo playing Augusta for the 1st time would shoot about 88-95 imo.  100 Scratch players attempt this, maybe 5-10 of these players out of 100 shoot in the low 80s, 2-3 might pull off a miracle round and manage an 80.   The scratch will make a few snow men or higher scores.  If your not able to drop a 4 iron within 10 feet of your target and hit that 4 iron very high, the course will be brutally difficult and just eat away at any confidence you had coming in. Remember this course is designed solely for the play of the Masters and the very best player in the world and those guys are plus 5 cappers.  


i'm gonna have to...disagree with you there.. and say that a scratch player isn't hitting at MOST 2-5 greens...that seems grossly as you put, "conservative"; rather, it would be quite a bit more. based on numbers presented here:

https://practical-golf.com/scratch-golfer/

you're arguing that the APPROACHES at augusta are so grave that he/she is going to effectively drop to less than half of their greens in reg percentage? i ain't buyin. most scratch players can take a look at a course via satellite, etc before playing the round and have a reasonable idea of what's around the greens -- in this case, they're playing a course they can literally view/watch EVERY hole on the course and have an idea where to miss. this is a + in this situation...

the average golfer on the PGA tour is a +5.4 per https://golf.com/instruction/pro-golfer-handicap-index-score/#:~:text=The average Tour pro has,average index%2C at %2B6.5. , that being said, the average score for the masters has been relative to par believe it or not, https://golf.com/news/most-dominant-masters-performance-might-surprise-you/ --- 

SO...if the average pro golfer is a +5.4 and the average score is, we'll say relative to par -- that means that the course rating is theoretically 77-78. a traveling, true scratch handicap beats 85. 

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6 minutes ago, ClarkGrswld4 said:

Not a chance to answer the OP's question. Consider this...of all the scratch golfers in this country, Tyler Strafaci would have to be considered amongst the top .0001% of them, no? Well he shot 80,81


AND he's tournament tested.  He's only the reigning US Amateur champion.  Strafaci also practiced several times on the course and played practice rounds with several Masters champions and seasoned professionals accustomed to playing in the Masters.  And anyone thinks a scratch can beat Strafaci I'd like to bet on that.  

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2 minutes ago, ClarkGrswld4 said:

Not a chance to answer the OP's question. Consider this...of all the scratch golfers in this country, Tyler Strafaci would have to be considered amongst the top .0001% of them, no? Well he shot 80,81


he's technically a +5.6 and didn't make a sunday but...

he shot 80 and 81...and if he's a +5.6 you could still make the argument he had bad days...and a scratch could STILL break 85. btw, he played like trash the only 2 days he played. 

 

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32 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

I think @isaacbm is onto something relevant.  Sure, tournament conditions aren't exactly the same, but in a relative sense hypothetically putting them on the back tees isn't a fair comparison IMO distance wise to what may, and I say may, be expected on average from a male scratch golfer (yes, plenty of expert and relatively short hitters out there), and by and large those were + cap women players.  The women did seem to have almost all of the regular Masters Sunday pins, I do doubt the green speeds were as fast, but they weren't slow by any means. How that translates? No idea.


Sure, @isaacbmmay have a point. What was the yardage the ladies played to?  I suppose move them a little further back, but not nearly as far back as the championship tees.  To test that the ladies would have to play greens like they were on Sunday.  And only scratch can play that scenario.  Any + handicap is disqualified.  
 

That said this hypothetical will never happen so any additional posts adds to mere conjecture. 

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2 minutes ago, RobotDoctor said:


AND he's tournament tested.  He's only the reigning US Amateur champion.  And anyone things a scratch can beat Strafaci I'd like to bet on that.  

 

He's a 22 year old playing his first live rounds in the Masters, it's somewhat disingenuous to not acknowledge that nerves almost assuredly played a role in his poor play.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, ClarkGrswld4 said:

technically by USGA definition, a scratch handicap isn't a zero...its the standard of play that would qualify someone for the US Amateur so a real scratch is almost always going to be a + handicap.

I think I know what you mean. But technically a scratch handicap is zero. But a scratch handicap does not always or even very often shoot even par or below.

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10 minutes ago, samwm said:

 

He's a 22 year old playing his first live rounds in the Masters, it's somewhat disingenuous to not acknowledge that nerves almost assuredly played a role in his poor play.

 

 


And you don't think some scratch golfer, playing a once in a lifetime round, wouldn't have the same nerves?  I suppose that's being disingenuous as well. 

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9 minutes ago, bladehunter said:

I think I know what you mean. But technically a scratch handicap is zero. But a scratch handicap does not always or even very often shoot even par or below.


Ding, Ding, Ding! Finally someone else who understands what being a scratch really is.  👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

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So would it have been harder to do this April because a scratch is going to have 48 putts or would it have been harder in November when the scratch player is hitting driver, driver, 8 iron into every hole?

 

Just thought I'd add to the hyperbole, don't mind me!

 

 

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5 hours ago, isaacbm said:

https://www.golfchannel.com/skysports/tours/other/2021/augusta-national-womens-amateur
 

For reference, 184 rounds were played and only two rounds were over 85. Both by the same player.

 

So again, I’m not saying the course setup was comparable. But it was the same golf course. Most of these women would be between a plus 2 and a 2  handicap from the men’s tees.  They didn’t struggle so much with the green complexes that they couldn’t break 85.  
 

Here’s the scores from the previous playing:

 

https://www.golfchannel.com/tours/women-s-amateur/2019/augusta-national-womens-amateur

 

In 2019 the greens were a little softer. Of the 176 rounds played, 170 of them were  80 or lower!! 
 

So again, yes different set up but same golf course.  
The ladies demonstrated clearly that Augusta national is not a hard golf course under normal conditions. 

So then the question becomes one of set up.  How much harder are the conditions during the Masters  proper? 
 

In my opinion, the ladies clearly demonstrated that the green complexes themselves are manageable for scratch golfers .

 

Thoughts?

 

I watched the last few holes of the ladies tournament, the conditions were not close to Sunday conditions at the Masters. 
 

You also mentioned your friends played the week after the event, did they have a caddy? A week is along time on a golf course, I bet the greens had been soaked and were not running at tournament speed. 

 

From memory I believe you are considerably better than a scratch golfer, I think you are being kind about a scratch golfers ability.

 

 

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2 hours ago, RobotDoctor said:


Ding, Ding, Ding! Finally someone else who understands what being a scratch really is.  👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

You’d be surprised how many don’t know that.  
 

I have a 74.5 scoring average at the moment and am 0.7 HI   And have never been below 0.0 ( my low HI) .... yet i have a low round of 65 and plenty of 69-70s.  Many also believe that must make me a  plus cap automatically.  Nope.  Course rating plays a huge role . 
 

 

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17 hours ago, bscinstnct said:

Well,

 

Freddie shot 79, 79

 

Vijay shot 79, 80

 

Course both are HoF PGA pros, still play on the CT, have played Augusta hundreds of times.

 

Oh yeah, and they both won there.

 

But I’m sure a scratch could head over and hang close to them at Augusta just fine ; )

Both Vijay and Freddie could lose on a given day playing poor to mediocre to a true travelling scratch handicap playing well. I guarantee they don't average 79 if they played, say 20 rounds. There is always variability in golf! 

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Pro V1X

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6 hours ago, RobotDoctor said:


And you don't think some scratch golfer, playing a once in a lifetime round, wouldn't have the same nerves?  I suppose that's being disingenuous as well. 


Yes, I think that a scratch golfer playing Augusta for the first time would have nerves. I also strongly doubt that they would compare to the nerves of the reigning US Am champ who is playing in his first Masters.
 

This isn’t the hill I care to die on, but the gravity of the two scenarios is markedly different. If you don’t agree, all good!

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